Fantasy, paranormal, romance, urban fantasy

Series Review: Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

 

ilona andrews books

Title: Kate Daniels Series
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Length: Varies from 260-400 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Overall Series Rating: 4 folded pages out of 5

Magic Bites Blurb:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Review:
What better way to start my comeback than with a huge series. The Kate Daniels series, by the husband and wife writing duo Ilona Andrews, currently has 9 main books, 5 novellas, and one online only snippet from a different character’s point of view. The tenth and probably final book is set to come out early 2018.

Let me just say, I LOVE this series. I read the entirety of it in about 3 weeks. I was so sad when I realized I had to leave the wonderful world and character building behind because I’d finished all the books available. I’m not even one to read novellas for series I love because usually I find they don’t really add much for me. But I read every single one.

I want to be Kate Daniels when I grow up. She’s fierce, independent, and caring. Honestly, reading from her point of view and seeing everything she does in these books made me want to start taking some kind of martial art or self defense course so I could be just one tenth of a bad ass that she is. Through the series you see her grow and develop in a way I hadn’t realized a book character could. Keep in mind this is the first series I’ve read that’s longer than Harry Potter.

I love all the side characters pretty much equally. Even the ones your supposed to hate or at the very least find annoying like Saiman. I was always sad when her adventures didn’t bring her into contact with the him even if he was absolutely infuriating at times.

On top of all this, Andrews’ writing is superb. It’s fast paced and snappy. I hardly ever found myself bored even in the middle of info dumps or plot set up; both of which get absolutely tedious in fantasy novels for me.

This series is a must read for urban fantasy lovers. It’s so good I’m already considering rereading it to try and catch things I may have missed. Also, don’t be put off by me saying it’s also a romance. It’s very light and definitely stays on the back burner when compared to the plot.

As a side note: The covers of these books are absolutely horrendous and it’s a surprise I read them at all but please don’t let them fool you. The stories inside are amazing.

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historical fiction, paranormal, romance, steampunk

Novella Review: Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

PoisonOrProtect_promo

Title: Poison or Protect (A Delightfully Deadly Novella)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 150 Pages, Ebook
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Historical, Paranormal
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Warning: This novella contains explicit scenes not for people under 18.

Note: I received an Ebook Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:
Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment. It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy. In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.

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Review:
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I read Carriger’s first three Parasol Protectorate novels last Summer. I loved Soulless and enjoyed Changeless and Blameless and because I reviewed previous novels, Carriger reached out to me to read and review her newest novella set in the same world.

I really enjoy Carriger’s world building. Even without reading previous works, the world is really rich. It’s full of steampunk and supernatural elements that made Soulless so endearing in the first place. A favorite character of mine even made a (brief) reappearance.

Preashea is my kind of woman; fierce and stubbornly independent. Her character made it all the more satisfying to watch the romance unfold. I liked being able to see the various depths of her character which is difficult to do in the short amount of time a novella provides.

Carriger seems to share my weakness for muscley Scottish men as well. First Lord Maccon and now Captain Gavin. Both of them are very swoon worthy but I think I actually like Captain Gavin more. He was sweet and understanding. I enjoyed that he was able to intuitively figure out what Preshea needed from him.

The romance was such a satisfying and slow build and the perfect read to pull me out of the reading slump I’ve been slowly falling into (again, I know!). I actually read the entirety in about 3 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I now feel the urgent need to continue reading the Parasol Protectorate series. I forgot how much I enjoy Carriger’s writing, especially when it comes to the romance aspect.

I’m sure I would have read this novella eventually since I plan on working my way through all her books, but I’m so glad I got to read it now. It’s probably going to end up being one of my favorite books that I read this year and I’m excited to see future novellas from Carriger.

Fantasy, paranormal, romance

Series Review: Southern Witch Series by Kimberly Frost

southern witch series

Title: Would Be Witch, Barely Bewitched, and Halfway Hexed
Author: Kimberly Frost
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 308 Pages, 322 Pages, 339 Pages, Ebook
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Folded Pages, 3 Folded Pages, DNF’d

Would Be Witch Blurb:
In the small town of Duvall, Texas, the only thing that causes more trouble than gossip is magic.

The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets in the way of the supernatural are a few untimely visits from the long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket—an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul—is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.

After a few bad experiences with her magic, Tammy turns to the only one who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers, but the locket isn’t the only thing passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning…to stay away from anyone named Lyons…

Review:
I picked these books up on the ebook system my library offers. I was craving a romance heavy fantasy and these books looked perfect. There’s five books in the series so far and I fully read the first two but I couldn’t get through the third unfortunately.

Tammy Jo has endearing moments especially in the first book. I liked her character. She was flawed and fun and a little bit stupid but I could handle it. The second book her character ebbed more on the stupid and in the third book I couldn’t handle it as it just got worse and put the book down forever.

I’m not sure how but as she learned more about her powers she lost intellect. Maybe this has a plot point somewhere, but for me, I can only take so many stupid actions by characters before I get completely fed up and put the book down.

I’m sad because I really loved the first book. It was fast paced and funny. Even with the not so great love interests (one a controlling asshole and the other a manipulative asshole) I enjoyed the storyline and even the over the top tropes of the guys in her love triangle.

Speaking of the love triangle, by the end of book 2 it was very obvious which of the assholes was better. She had more chemistry and dependence on the less assholely of the two and yet she still wavers between them and was still doing so in the beginning of the third book. One of the guys wasn’t even in the picture at that time because he left on some soul searching journey or something.
I’m angry that these books got progressively worse because the first one was SO good. I really liked it and I wish Tammy Jo had progressed forward instead of backward. That would have saved this series from ending up on my “never finish” list. There’s 5 books in the series so far and I’m not sure if she plans to write more but I know I’m never going further than this with the series.

Fantasy, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Book Review: The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Shadow Cabinet (Shades Book 3)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Length: 385, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, fantasy, mystery
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Warning: Spoilers in the blurb.

Book 1: The Name of the Star Review | Book 2: The Madness Underneath Review

Blurb:
Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they’ll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

Review:
As much as I loved The Name of the Star I can’t say that the second book or this lived up to how much I loved the first one. I think both of them had sequel syndrome.

I enjoyed the overall plot but I found Rory’s personality to be kind of annoying instead of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed this book. It just was a bit slower and not as good as I had hoped.

I can’t say much else without spoiling the plot of this book and the first two. I will say that so far I enjoy the series as a whole and can’t wait to get my hands on the prequel.

Fantasy, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Book Review: The Madness Underneath by Marueen Johnson

Title: The Madness Underneath
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Length: 384, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, fantasy, mystery
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Warning!!: Spoiler for the first book in the blurb. Read at your own risk.

To see my review of the first book in the Shade Series click here.

Blurb:
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Review:
The Name of the Star (the first book in this series) has recently gotten the coveted 5 folded pages from me and I think The Madness Underneath is a pretty solid follow up. I definitely wasn’t expecting most of what happened in the novel.

Once again, Rory completely charms me with her wit and ability to handle what comes at her. I love that we see her struggle with what happened to her and Maureen Johnson does an amazing job at representing and showing mental illness in this novel without all the stigma usually attached.

I can’t talk too much on other points without giving away important details of the first book or this book. But I didn’t really know what to expect from this novel and I definitely didn’t expect what happened in both good and bad ways (bad only because it ripped my heart out).

I do think the novel felt a little disjointed at times and I wasn’t quite sure of the point here and there but I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in two days. It kind of felt like a novella that would tie the third book to the first book but I enjoyed that.

I’ve already started the third book in the series and honestly I’m still loving the world (not unlike our own but it has differences) that Johnson has built.

Fantasy, graphic novel, paranormal

Graphic Novel Review: Cemetery Girl: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

cemetery girl

Title: Cemetery Girl: The Pretenders
Author: Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
Publisher: InkLit
Length:128 Pages, Hardcover
Genre: Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Fantasy
Rating: 3 folded pages

Blurb:
She calls herself Calexa Rose Dunhill—names taken from the grim surroundings where she awoke, bruised and bloody, with no memory of who she is, how she got there, or who left her for dead.

She has made the cemetery her home, living in a crypt and avoiding human contact. But Calexa can’t hide from the dead—and because she can see spirits, they can’t hide from her.

Then one night, Calexa spies a group of teenagers vandalizing a grave—and watches in horror as they commit murder. As the victim’s spirit rises from her body, it flows into Calexa, overwhelming her mind with visions and memories not her own.

Now Calexa must make a decision: continue to hide to protect herself—or come forward to bring justice to the sad spirit who has reached out to her for help…

Review:
This was a good, quick read with some very heavy themes. I enjoyed this book and I might grab the sequel from the library when it comes out though I wouldn’t buy this series.

I really enjoyed the art style. It held a lot of color while still maintaining the dark themes in the story. I also enjoyed Calexa as a character. However, I would have liked more backstory. It took me a while to get invested into the characters and that’s not good with a graphic novel.

I want to see what comes next for Calexa but it doesn’t really have me on the edge of my seat like Saga did so I can wait a while. I think this might be a story that drops off into oblivion for me. It was good but not great. Not sure what else to say about it honestly. It’s one of those books that’s just kind of there.

Fantasy, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

the name of the star

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Speak
Length: 400 pages, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, fantasy, mystery
Rating: 5 folded pages

Blurb:
New York Times bestseller Maureen Johnson takes on Jack the Ripper in this captivating paranormal thriller!

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him–the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Review:
I’ve done it guys, this is only the third novel I’ve reviewed on this blog that I’ve given five folded pages. It’s finally happened! I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen but I can honestly say I have nothing bad to say about The Name of the Star.

This was a reread for me. I read it wayyyy back when I first started college. I started it August of 2011 but I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it until December during break. It feels like forever ago. And it took me ages to finish because I hadn’t realized how intense my classes would be compared to high school classes.

I’m so glad I enjoyed it so much the second time around. There isn’t much to say about the book without revealing spoilers. The characters were awesome, I loved all of them. Even the uptight Stephen. I’m super excited to read the sequel and I hope it lives up to how much I absolutely love this one.